Spokane woman to spend 4 years in federal prison for mailing drugs, identity theft
SPOKANE, Wash. – A prolific fraudster was sentenced to four years in prison for sending drugs through the mail.
Charice Unruh, 42, pleaded guilty to Unlawful Use of the United States Mails following an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The investigation started when a Postal Inspector noticed a package addressed to Unruh while conducting a routine parcel review. The inspector recognized her name from a previous investigation where Unruh was convicted for her role in an identity theft ring.
The package appeared to have contraband inside, so the investigator obtained a search warrant and later found methamphetamine inside.
The inspector removed the drugs and replaced them with a non-contraband substance before setting up a controlled delivery to Unruh. She retrieved the package, was contacted by the inspector and the USPIS executed a search warrant on her Spokane-area apartment.
They located several items used for identity theft, as well as personal identification information for multiple people across the country.
In court, a judge told Uhruh she had a “disturbing” and “terrible” history with this type of crime. Unruh addressed the court saying she was addicted to methamphetamine and addicted to stealing other people’s identities.
“Sending drugs through the mail and stealing people’s identities are serious crimes that deserve serious punishment, as today’s sentence demonstrates,” said Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. “Our colleagues at USPIS work tirelessly to ensure not only the safe delivery of mail in this country, but to investigate identity theft, mailboxing, wire and bank fraud, and similar crimes. Identity theft costs victims money, time, stress, and can have lasting negative impacts on people’s lives. Even if victims of identity theft are made whole by banks, credit card companies, and other institutions, the costs associated with credit card fraud, bank fraud, and identity theft are distributed back across the entire law-abiding population, increasing everyone’s cost of living. I commend USPIS for their ongoing efforts to stymie both identity theft and the use of the U.S. mails to distribute drugs.”
“The U.S. Postal Service remains one of the most trusted entities in the country, and we work at every turn to protect the communities we serve. Preventing identity theft remains one of our top priorities,” said Inspector in Charge Anthony Galetti. “Every time I speak to a victim of identity theft, I am reminded of both the financial and mental toll this crime takes—innocent victims have to spend their time, energy, and resources to close fraudulent bank accounts, correct credit scores, and the like. A bank may return a victim’s money, but a bank can never give a victim back all the hours it takes to undo an identity thief’s work. We hope this sentencing brings justice to the victims of Unruh’s criminal activity and serves as a deterrent to others. I thank the U.S. Border Patrol and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance; it is partnerships across agencies that allow cases like this to be solved.”
The judge sentenced Unruh to 48 months in federal prison, the highest sentence available, and to another year of incarceration, to be served concurrently because she committed this crime while already on federal supervised release.
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